Home Harrisonburg seeks input on prioritizing most critical needs for ARPA funds

Harrisonburg seeks input on prioritizing most critical needs for ARPA funds

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The city of Harrisonburg has released an online survey asking the community to rank what needs they feel are best for the city.

The list of needs was developed through community meetings, small group sessions and a survey. More than 2,000 individuals provided input to city council.

The following areas were identified for consideration of American Rescue Plan Act funds:

  • Increasing safe, accessible, and sustainable housing: Ensuring more rental housing, more affordable housing for purchase, energy efficiency incentives, and sheltering the homeless
  • Expanding and enhancing public spaces: Expanding and enhancing arts and cultural spaces, public parks, greenways, community recreation centers and pools, and centralizing community information
  • Upgrading neighborhood livability and sustainability: Upgrading and expanding sidewalks, improving roads and bike lanes, managing flooding, increasing Wifi access, and beautifying neighborhoods
  • Improving community mental and physical health: Substance abuse help, mental health treatment, health clinics, food access, and support for seniors and those with disabilities
  • Strengthening support for K-12 students: School buildings, student mental health, tutoring, and summer and before/after school programs
  • Supporting our workers and working families: Competitive and living wages, job training, affordable and quality childcare, and incentivizing businesses
  • Building capacity of city government and its services: Fully staffing safety personnel and departments, water and sewer improvements, sustainability of city property, and offering services in multiple languages
  • Improving how we get around: Public transportation, bike lanes, creating a network of usable sidewalks, and electrical vehicle charging stations

Survey participants will be asked to rank funding priorities.

“Throughout this process, we have heard our community describe the biggest needs they and their families are experiencing in our city,” said Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed. “My colleagues and I are eager to move forward on addressing many of these issues our community has identified, but to do so we need people to speak up and help us recognize the best, most impactful steps we should take to benefit as many people as possible.”

In addition to the online survey, pop-up engagement opportunities will take place throughout the city at local parks and community gatherings.

The results of the survey will be presented to Harrisonburg City Council in June.

Story by Crystal Abbe Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.